- Washington & Lee Swing
- Georgia Cakewalk
- I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair
- Big House Blues
- Sing On
- Midnight Special
- Climbing On Top Of The Hill
- Custard Pie
- Betty & Dupree
- This Little Light Of Mine
- Southern Train
- Cornbread, Peas & Black Molasses
- John Henry
- Key To The Highway
- If I Could Only Hear My Mother Pray Again
- No Worries On My Mind
- Do Lord
- If I Ever Cease To Love
- Blue Bells Goodbye
- When You And I Were Young Maggie
- Just A Closer Walk With Thee
- Runnin' Wild
Chris Barber - Trombone, bass (tracks 1-5, 8-10, 15-23)
Sonny Terry - Harmonica, vocals (tracks 6-17)
Brownie McGhee - Vocals, guitar (tracks 6-17)
Pat Halcox - Trumpet (tracks 1-5, 9-10, 15-23)
Monty Sunshine - Clarinet (tracks 1-5, 8, 9-10, 16-23)
Eddie Smith - Banjo (tracks 1-5, 9-10, 14, 16-23)
Dick Smith - Bass (tracks 1-5, 9-10, 16-23)
Graham Burbidge - Drums (tracks 1-5, 9-10, 16-23)
This CD consists of largely unissued material but its core is a ten
inch LP made by the visiting Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee with Chris
Barber’s Jazz Band in 1958. Barber’s ear for visiting fireman was
uncanny and one measure of his acumen is the ease with which, stylistically,
a variety of jazz, blues and gospel singers and instrumentalists fitted
so adeptly into the surroundings of his own increasingly flexible
and stylistically eclectic band. Barber’s plurality of approach was
really something, and deserves to be saluted to this day.
One example, obviously without the visiting American stars, is a
show tune such as I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair.
It might seem an unlikely vehicle for the band but it’s the way
they co-opt it to their corporate ensemble style that’s so interesting,
even if it isn’t entirely successful or even if there were better
songs, more susceptible to the arranging treatment. Sing On
by contrast is straight out of ‘The Revival’ and here Monty Sunshine
extols George Lewis with fervour.
The items from that Nixa LP [NJT515] are marked in the booklet notes.
There are seven songs altogether lasting about twenty minutes or so.
Midnight Special, the song Leadbelly draped around him, is
classic ground for Terry and McGhee, and John Henry proves
addictive, no matter how many times they might have performed it.
This number was not actually on the Nixa LP so its appearance here
is especially noteworthy, especially with the fine harp blowing. By
and large the Barber band contented itself with modest fills or backing
voices when Brownie and Sonny were with them. One of the most extended
instrumental solos comes via Sunshine on No Worries On My Mind.
Elsewhere we find a spruce and unhackneyed approach to the Blues,
to Ellingtonia and traditional material – try the robust and invigorating
Just A Closer Walk With Thee as an example.
Paul Adams, aka ‘Mr Lake’, notes the amount of echo inherent in some
of these recordings, which has been beyond him entirely to remedy.
It certainly adds to the gutsy charm and to the spirit of the enterprise.
also an additional review by Tony Augarde